Dining out during Raya

Lamb Ribs from De.Wan 1958. — Filepic

It will soon be Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Muslims will be taking this opportunity to travel out of Klang Valley and braving the traffic jam to spend time with family and loved ones in their hometowns.

Others who remain in the city will be busy preparing traditional food such as rendang, lemang and ketupat.

No festivity in Malaysia is complete without a spread of delicacies for the occasion.

While nothing beats a wonderful home-cooked meal, not everyone gets to balik kampung to enjoy this as they may have work commitments, or they’re just not as adept in the kitchen as others.

It used to be that shops would close for a whole week as it’s one of the few times in a year that they get to rest.

But that is not a problem anymore as these days, many restaurants remain open over the holiday season to cater for those who don’t cook at home, or need a break from the kitchen. Most hotels offer a buffet spread and raya special promotions as well.

Here are a few suggestions for those who want to eat out:

1. De.Wan 1958

Treat yourself and your family to a posh meal in a modern and luxurious setting, with hints of our British colonial past seen in the decor. De.Wan offers exquisite cuisine curated by celebrity Chef Wan himself, who lends his inimitable flair to the recipes. Dine on traditional Malay cuisine from different parts of Malaysia, all under one roof. The dishes feature a rich mix of spices and exciting flavour profiles, embodying the diverse food culture of Malaysia. The menu is extensive, featuring dishes such as Gulai Tempoyak, Ayam Buah Keluak, Lamb Ribs, and Kambing Kurma. Besides The LINC KL; Bangsar Shopping Centre in Kuala Lumpur; and Bangi Resort Hotel in Selangor; there is Cafe Chef Wan in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur, which offers food with a global influence. Closed on first two days of Raya.

2. Irama Dining

Located on Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur, in an old heritage abode with the imposing KL Tower as a backdrop, Irama Dining offers classic Malay dishes in a modern, comfortable environment, a lovely showpiece of how the old and new co-exist in harmony. Its extensive menu includes its signature Smoked Duck/Beef Masamman Curry, Lamb Shank Kurma, Ayam Kerutup and favourite childhood dessert Bubur Sum Sum. Irama Dining also has an outlet in Penang which opens up to a rooftop view. Closed on first two days of Raya.

Mee Rebus from Chinta. — FilepicMee Rebus from Chinta. — Filepic

3. Chinta

Housed in a bungalow in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, Chinta by Chinoz makes you feel right at home the moment you step in. Teak furniture, antique brass bowls and a repurposed old medicine cabinet evoke old-world charm and feelings of nostalgia. The recipes and dishes featured are food which founder Sandra Samad grew up with, so you get to enjoy home-style Malay cooking. Look forward to Daging Salai Gulai Lemak, Ayam Rose (masak merah), Ayam Rendang Hijau, Asam Pedas Ikan Tenggiri and Kerabu Pucuk Paku. There is also Mee Rebus Johor for those craving Johor food. Closed on first two days of Raya.

Cili Kampung gives off kampung vibes. — FilepicCili Kampung gives off kampung vibes. — Filepic

4. Cili Kampung

You can still get to eat kampung food even if you don’t get to balik kampung (go back to hometown)! Cili Kampung KLCC brings traditional Malay family recipes from Langkawi to the Klang Valley. Laidback kampung vibes are created through the use of rustic fish traps, potted plants and paintings of kampung houses as part of its interior decor. Food is served in communal bowls for sharing, like how it is on the family table, and the spice level will not disappoint! Look forward to dishes such as Sambal Cili Api Chicken, Gulai Nangka with Pucuk Manis, Beef Masak Lomak and Asam Pedas Tenggiri. The original outpost is in Desa Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur. Both outlets are closed on first day of Raya.

Ikan Nila Goreng from Dancing Fish. — FilepicIkan Nila Goreng from Dancing Fish. — Filepic

5. Dancing Fish

Featuring classic Malay-Indo flavours with distinct local identity, Dancing Fish is located in Bangsar Shopping Centre, KL, and has in recent years been bestowed Bib Gourmand status. The chic decor and cosy ambience lend to its charm, transporting diners from the noise of the city into the calm within. Its signature dish, Dancing Fish, is deep-fried in crunchy batter, poised like a dancer on a plate, and comes with different toppings and sauces. Among its unique West Indonesia-inspired cuisine are Tauhu Bakar with Spicy Peanut Sauce, Seafood Sate Lilit, BBQ Beef ribs with Sambal Matah, and Bebek Goreng with Duo Sambal. Open throughout Raya.

6. Congkak

Named after the traditional Malaysian game, Congkak is located on Jalan Beremi, Kuala Lumpur, and offers Nusantara cuisine. The interior is an ode to Malaysia in the 1950s and ’60s, the walls are adorned with P. Ramlee movie posters and other memorabilia. Thanks to chef Firdaus Daud, a meal here reminds one of dishes their grandmother cooked. Traditional fare such as Gulai Pucuk Paku, Pepes Ikan, Rusuk Panggang Masak Hitam − Australian beef short ribs, and not forgetting its signature Tauhu Telor, come in communal portions. At its outlet in The Curve, Petaling Jaya, dishes are served as individual portions. Besides its signature Nasi Ambeng Platter, other choices include Nasi Goreng Berlado Ayam Bakar, and Nasi Dendeng Daging. Open throughout Raya.

7. Mee Tarik Petaling Street

While it’s not exactly festive food, it provides a change of pace and rest for your tastebuds when you’ve had too many spicy curries. Sited on the edge of Chinatown, this is a good time to visit since most people are out of town so you don’t have to brave the crowd. Serving authentic halal Chinese-Muslim food, the main attraction is mee tarik (hand-pulled noodles) that comes in a bowl of flavourful soup with beef slices. Other popular dishes here include Lamb and Chicken Dumplings, fried steamed bun with condensed milk, and chives pancake. Open throughout Raya.

8. Mohd Chan

Serving halal Chinese-Muslim dishes infused with South-East Asian flavours, Mohd Chan has grown to encompass a dim sum restaurant; Chan Mari Chan – a muhibah bistro; and an express version as well. Expect typical Chinese dishes like Steamed Garoupa, Lemon Chicken and Cantonese-style Kway Teow while Chan Mari Chan features spicier options like Asam Pedas Ikan Pari and Sizzling Bamboo Clam with Nyonya Sambal, alongside mainstays such as Roasted Chicken Rice. The Express outlet offers more one-dish meals and dim sum. Closed on first day of Raya.

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